Finally, we've made it to the last installment of Day 2 in Hanoi! After being on our feet the whole day, and visiting the Vietnam Military History Museum & the Temple of Literature, we were absolutely famished.
The target for dinner was a location noted in my checklist - Chicken Street! So named because apparently the whole street served barbecued chicken. We were intrigued, and since Adam is such a chicken meat lover, he certainly wasn't going to give this chance up.
Chicken Street is not a nickname we gave Ly Van Phuc; it really is known by that name! Roads in Hanoi are very simplistic. You want to eat chicken, you go to Chicken Street. You want to buy nuts, there's a street full of nut shops. You want hardware or homeware, there's a road for that too. Reminiscent of the old trade days when workers with specific skills would all congregate in one area.
Ly Van Phuc is also slightly off the beaten path and is a lot less touristy than the other parts of Hanoi that visitors like us commonly see. In fact, our hotel receptionist was pretty surprised when we told her we made it there for dinner.
|Cooking on the pavement|
We decided to make our way on foot there after our Temple of Literature visit... it was about 5:30 in the evening and that meant rush hour and lots of sights to drink in!
Interestingly, we found a stretch of road where there was a line of barbers. Evening rush traffic jam? No sweat, just hop off your bike and get a haircut. :p Here's one under a tree...
...and more lined up outside a stadium!
As you make your way from the Temple of Literature to Ly Van Phuc, you'll pass by the Hàng Đẫy Stadium. Across the road from it is a stretch of shops selling sporting apparel and gear. Once there, you're actually really near to Ly Van Phuc!
|All sorts of gear you can imagine. Nike on the side of the shoe, but Adidas on its sole. :D|
We didn't realize just how near Ly Van Phuc we were and so, got tempted by the awesome-smelling chicken satay this lady was selling.
After we made quick work (read: devoured) of the two skewers we bought, we rounded the corner and there we saw sign telling us that we had arrived at Ly Van Phuc!
|The first shop on Ly Van Phuc|
When we arrived it was about 6pm, the sky was slowly turning dark and the street was slowly coming to life with the various vendors starting up their fires. Ly Van Phuc is really just a small street off a larger main road so we decided to walk down & explore before deciding where to stop, neatly avoiding the empty restaurants at the head of the street.
|Make it burn!|
When we were nearing the end of the short street, we decided to stop at No. 16 - they have a neon sign that says Ga Nuong Suon Nuong. The barbecue looked like it was already going at full force here, with smoke gently billowing out of the pits and some chicken bones (courtesy of the last diners) dotting the ground beneath the little chairs and tables.
We spotted other locals eating here and so figured hey, it must be good. #touristlogic They also looked like they were prepared for brisk business that night ... check out the multiple pails of skewered chicken wings, asking to be barbecued. Yeaaah, it doesn't look the most hygenic, but this ambiance was exactly what we were after.
|Huge stack of banh mi (baguette) waiting to be served|
|Part of the charm? Perching, practically squatting on these tiny little chairs|
|Non-stop barbecuing.. I kid you not!|
We started off slowly and ordered some chicken wings and some banh mi (baguette) to begin with. I think we all just kinda went silent at first bite because it was so good! The chicken wings were not the fleshiest but what they lacked in size, they made up for it twofold in flavour. They came piping hot, perfectly charred & smoky, with a sticky-sweet glaze to them. Messy, sticky, a real hot mess. We really couldn't stop.
The banh mi was also very tasty for something so simple. Lightly drizzled with some sugar syrup and flattened over the barbecue pit, it became a tad crispy on the outside yet still soft and chewy on the inside.
|More wings please!|
We honestly lost count of just how many wings and baguettes we polished off that night! Besides that, they also barbecue other parts like chicken feet, or quarter chickens like the above. This was more savoury than the glaze of the chicken wings, and not such a hit at our table.
There's pork ribs as well for the swine lover, but this ended up being a bit tough for our liking.
|Pickled kangkung to add some hints of green to our dinner.|
You can also get chunks of sweet potato on a skewer, again lightly basted with some kind of sweet sauce before grilling.
|Of course, what goes well with a barbecue?|
Our bill! The total for our feast for four was 608,000 VND (approximately RM 90 or USD 30). I tried asking the girl who billed us about the individual prices but she spoke nearly no English so I honestly couldn't tell you how much each thing cost. I think the prices aren't too bad considering we ate many rounds of chicken wings and in addition to that, had beer as well.
Of course, there's always the possibility we got charged more than the locals but, it was a really good meal in the heart of local Hanoi and more importantly, we enjoyed ourselves tremendously. In fact, I think this remains one of our favourite meals of our Hanoi trip.
Here's a picture of the sign, you can't miss it. And even if you do, then walk right down to the end of the street where there's tons of those small tables and stools in a large open-aired space. The barbecue'll be going at full force, and you'll have one of the best Hanoi street food experiences of your holiday! :)
Ga Nuong Suon Huong,
Ly Van Phuc (Chicken Street),
Off Nguyen Thai Hoc,
Dong Da, Hanoi.
We also got to take a proper look at the St Joseph's Cathedral, the oldest church in Hanoi that's just down the road from our hotel. Just imagine, it was built during the late 1880s but mass is still conducted inside it today. During the day, we can hear the church bells tolling from our hotel room too.
If you've read our Day 2 posts, you'll realize that we practically walked to our destinations save for that one final cab ride. After spending all day on our feet, the most logical thing to do next was to get a foot massage at one of the few massage parlours opposite the Cathedral.
The startling thing about this foot massage was that they bring out an extremely dodgy looking foot bubble massager filled with murky water for you to soak your feet in (!!!). Turns out its cinnamon mixed with water that's supposedly very good for tired or dry feet. :S
Murky cinnamon water aside, it was a great relaxing end to Day 2 of our Hanoi adventure! Stay tuned for Ha Long Bay, that's coming up next. :)
Check out the links below for our other Hanoi-related posts :)
Accomodation - Rising Dragon Cathedral Hotel, Au Trieu St, Old Quarter
Breakfast at Pho 10 / exploring Old Quarter, visiting Hoan Kiem Lake & drinks at Avalon Cafe / dinner at Bun Cha Dac Kim / water puppet show at Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre
Vietnam Military History Museum / Temple of Literature